Elmo Puppeteer Denies Allegations
Posted by Jennifer Alcaraz on Nov 15, 2012 - 7:51:45 PM
BEVERLY HILLS—The 52-year-old puppeteer Kevin Clash, famous for being the voice of Elmo, had reportedly taken a leave of absence from the show "Sesame Street." His leave of absence originated from allegations against him of being involved in a relationship with a 16-year-old male. Clash denied all forms of charges from the accuser, now age 23, which were made in June.
Kevin Clash and Elmo. Photo courtesy of Facebook.
The Sesame Workshop took the allegation very seriously and questioned Clash about it, to which he denied. The relationship he sustained was labeled as “unrelated to the workplace,” by the organization. However, Clash is considered to have demonstrated “poor judgment” for having been part of the relationship.
He was also disciplined for not adhering to company policy concerning Internet use. It is considered a felony in New York to have sex with a person under 17 if the other person is at least 21 years old. There is no information clarifying where the relationship took place. Clash does not have any record of criminal charges in the state.
Clash released a statement to the press saying, “I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was.” Until yesterday, he continued to mention his absence from the show in order to deal with the accusations.
Just after Clash had made known to the public his leave of absence, the accuser recanted his accusations. The accuser, Sheldon Stephens, now says he was an adult at the time when he sustained a relationship with Clash.
In a public statement today, Clash said, “I’m relieved that this painful allegation has been put to rest. I will not discuss it further.” Stephens was an aspiring actor and model with a troubled past, which puts into question the credibility of his initial accusations. He was once arrested for robbing at knife-point $250,000 worth of jewelry from a music manager whom he had interned for before he was arrested.
Clash has attained fame aside from being the voice of Elmo in "Sesame Street." He serves as the show’s senior Muppet coordinator as well as Muppet Captain. Additionally, he published, “My Life as a Furry Red Monster” in 2006, and also was the main focus in the 2011 documentary “Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey.”